parental woes

This evening, we had dinner over at a high school friend's flat, who's also based here in Riyadh with her family and were joined by two other old classmates. We had fun sharing stories and catching up on each other's lives. I think I laughed more than I ate the entire time we were there.

Anyway, my friend has a daughter who's my son's age and I was happy at the thought that he would have someone to play with while we were visiting. When we first arrived, he seemed a bit shy and wouldn't touch any of the toys in the room but after a while, as he started feeling more comfortable, he began to tentatively pick up a toy that piqued his interest. But my friend's daughter, being the possessive toddler that she is, immediately said, "No!" and took the toy back from him. I was afraid that Jeolo would throw a tantrum the way he usually does when we refuse to let him have something he wants but he surrendered the toy without any fuss and merely moved on to something else. The cycle continued several times the entire evening and my baby never once got angry. I felt so proud of him!

Then, out of the blue, as he tried to play with another toy, my friend's little girl suddenly slapped him and scratched him on his face. He started crying and ran to us and I saw livid lines across both his cheeks and on his neck. We soothed him as my friend reprimanded her daughter. Over the course of the evening, she also hit him on the head with a spoon and a piece of a wind chime and he never hit her back. He just cried.

On our way home, J confided that he got mad when he saw the scratches on our kid's face and had felt like spanking the other tot's hand. Personally, I didn't like what had happened but I couldn't quite get angry because I felt she didn't really know what she was doing and was merely acting the way a spoiled child usually would. She even patted my son's back when he cried after she scratched him and said, "S'okay." I also recall how our son made a cousin his age cry several times last year because of his roughhousing. Only difference was that he never intentionally tried to hurt her. But, at the age of two, they're both still innocents for me and I think the little girl's actions reflect more on how her parents are rearing her. My friend and her husband are both very nice people but I know they spoil their child very much since they had such a difficult time conceiving her so I understand even if I don't exactly approve.

I guess this is the part where my husband and I have to learn how to control our parental instincts and learn how to accept that, no matter how hard we may try to protect our child, he will get hurt sooner or later by another person or by circumstances in his life. We have to learn to discern when he needs us to fight for him and when to let him deal with things on his own. And that the best thing we can do is to try and raise him right and let him know that we're always there for him whenever he needs us.

Mood Music: Sunrise, Sunset from "Fiddler On The Roof"